Southwest Electrical Group Inc.

Southwest Electrical picSouthwest Electrical Group focuses on networks and security but is exploring new revenue streams. 

By Kat Zeman

Even the most difficult puzzles have solutions. Southwest Electrical Group Inc. (SEGI) is in the business of finding them.

When it comes to network infrastructure, security systems and electrical specialty products, SEGI has solved thousands of puzzles for its clients. The Tempe, Ariz.-based company is a leading manufacturer’s representative that specializes in finding its clients custom and tailored business solutions in the Rocky Mountain and Desert Southwest areas.

SEGI represents a range of manufacturers who provide technical solutions for clients like data centers, healthcare facilities, universities, Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, military complexes and various other facilities with mission-critical network deployment requirements.

“We are the eyes and ears of the companies we represent in the market,” says George Jopp, one of SEGI’s principal owners. Jopp shares principal ownership of SEGI with Tony Page. The two men, along with Therese Rodriguez, started the company in 1998 after leaving behind successful careers in sales, marketing and management with General Electric and Hoffman Enclosures. Southwest Electrical box

SEGI prides itself on having a knowledgeable sales force trained to provide leading network cabling solutions, security and access-control systems, special electrical systems, and turnkey lightning protection/grounding installations. From product selection to installation and education, SEGI works to make business run smoothly.

Bread and Butter 

Roughly 85 percent of SEGI’s business comes from selling infrastructure solutions for computer networks. These include copper and fiber-optic cables and connectivity, structural thermal and power products, test and diagnostic equipment, PVC conduit and fittings, structural lightning protection and wireless network performance tools. It also offers a variety of tools, accessories, wall plates and housing structures.

Wireless network solutions appear to be a current trend, even though they require the same amount of cable as wired networks. “That’s one of the biggest trends. People want to connect their computers wirelessly,” says Tony Page, SEGI’s principal owner. “In the past, wireless didn’t have that type of security and speed, but that’s changed.”

The company is equipped to build a custom network from scratch or upgrade an existing one. Specializing in individualized solutions, its staff has experience in helping clients select the appropriate components for their needs. “The glue to making all this work is our people,” Jopp says. “We are very proud of our staff.”

Selling Security

While security and access control systems are only six percent of SEGI’s business, they are the fastest-growing part of it. “Security is becoming a bigger and bigger concern for companies,” Jopp says.

SEGI sells surveillance cameras and software, access control systems, video surveillance storage solutions, emergency communication technologies and integrated perimeter and data security solutions. “Network infrastructure is getting mature,” Page says. “The technology is evolving at the same speeds with most manufacturers. In the security business, the technology is new and everybody seems to want it.”

Since entering the security business three years ago, SEGI also discovered it to be a doorway into its network infrastructure business. “It’s a great lead-in,” Jopp says. “The cable has to be good in order for the cameras to work properly.”

Though SEGI plans to continue to grow its network infrastructure and security business, it is exploring new revenue streams. “There’s a big market out there for audiovisual products that we haven’t touched yet,” Page says.

Such products could include projectors, video and audio conferencing systems, video walls and panels, photo intercom systems, digital signage and media streaming. 

Customer Care

The company prides itself on sharing its manufacturers’ cultures and being committed to wholesale distribution. “We make it a point to make sure that we treat the manufacturers on our line card as important customers and we only represent manufacturers who go through wholesalers,” Page says. “We are very committed to the wholesale channel.” 

SEGI treats all aspects of the channel as an important part of the sales process and emphasizes a specification effort as a way to maximize value for all of its constituents. The company has a training showroom and customer service center at its headquarters in Tempe. 

The company states that it provides the best pre- and post-order service in the industry. It hires sales associates who have employment experience with leading industry manufacturers, distributors and contractors. SEGI has received numerous sales rep of the year awards from the companies it represents, Page says. 

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